Author Topic: USAF Woes  (Read 132316 times)

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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #300 on: October 23, 2017, 11:29:45 »
In a saturated IADS filled with RF and IR threats?  Good luck.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #301 on: October 23, 2017, 12:07:42 »
How many planes do you need to take out a military frozen in time ?

2 outta do it.
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Offline BurmaShave

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #302 on: October 23, 2017, 18:33:51 »
Not for North Korea.How many planes do you need to take out a military frozen in time ? In the first 24 hours their navy and air force would cease to exist. SAM defenses would be destroyed AAA would be a problem. Lil Kim would probably be a casualty in the ensuing power struggle .Kim goes and a deal might be struck.

The DPRK military is frozen in time, but they’re huuuge. In a sense, they’ve got the mass, cohesion, and artillery support of a WWI army, combined with early Cold War era gear. They also have a comprehensive IADS (integrated air defence system- radar, IR, and kinetic weapons with a centeralized detection and control system) with which to whack any commander who sends in gunships and A-10s.

This is where the military puzzle comes from. Not beating them, but beating them without mass casualties. It’s not WWII anymore, we can’t accept that.

Any plan to fight them needs to stop Seoul from being laked, stop the nuclear option, avoid an asymmetric war, and neutralize an IADS, all while fighting a massive (albeit antiquated) army in a mountainous, forested hell. It’s way, way beyond my pay grade.

(More topically, war in Korea requires the absolute best and brightest to plan and execute it. The stop losses may be to recover those folks, alongside numbers.)
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Offline Colin P

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #303 on: October 26, 2017, 10:26:07 »
From what I read, South Korea has done a terrible job of "hardening" Seoul to survive the attack and protect the population, almost as if to force everyone away from the military option due to the potential high cost. They should be investing in Iron dome right now and start work on shelters.

Online tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #304 on: October 26, 2017, 12:12:07 »
Seoul is what 35 miles from the DMZ with a population of 25 million. The city does have extensive air raid shelters.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/seoul-bomb-shelters_us_59927081e4b09071f69c2539

Offline Colin P

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #305 on: October 26, 2017, 13:10:27 »
I read that article before, they are only just waking up to the issue, despite having "shelters". It would be good to liaise with the Israeli Civil Defense management to help get their systems up to speed. 

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #306 on: March 06, 2018, 15:37:19 »
RCAF?

Quote
Fewer planes are ready to fly: Air Force mission-capable rates decline amid pilot crisis

The readiness of the Air Force’s aircraft fleet is continuing its slow, steady deterioration — and this could spell trouble for the service’s effort to hold on to its pilots and its ability to respond to contingencies around the world.

According to data provided by the Air Force, about 71.3 percent of the Air Force’s aircraft were flyable, or mission-capable, at any given time in fiscal 2017. That represents a drop from the 72.1 percent mission-capable rate in fiscal 2016, and a continuation of the decline in recent years.

Former Air Force pilots and leaders say that this continued trend is a gigantic red flag, and warn it could lead to serious problems down the road.

“It scares the heck out of me,” said retired Gen. Hawk Carlisle, former head of Air Combat Command. “It really does.”

“We are seeing an Air Force that is back on its heels,” said John Venable, a Heritage Foundation fellow and former F-16 pilot who flew in Iraq and Afghanistan. “They’re all on the backside of the power curve.”

Look closer at some of the service’s most crucial air frames, and even more alarming trends emerge.

In fiscal 2014, almost three-quarters of the Air Force’s F-22 Raptors were mission capable. But since then, the Raptor’s rates have plunged — by more than 11 percentage points in the last year — and now less than half are mission-capable.

The F-35, the Air Force’s most advanced fighter, also saw a nearly 10 percentage-point drop [read on]...
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/03/05/fewer-planes-are-ready-to-fly-air-force-mission-capable-rates-decline-amid-pilot-crisis/


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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #307 on: March 08, 2018, 15:03:22 »
More on USAF pilot woes, esp. fighters (RCAF)?

Quote
Air Force in Crisis, Part II: How Did We Get Here?

The U.S. Air Force is 2,000 pilots short, and the shortage is getting worse. Part I of this series outlined the importance of retention. Now, to answer why retention fell, it’s best to first understand when it fell. The Air Force hopes to retain 65 percent of pilots eligible to leave, yet the service last met this goal in 2013. While that tells a story, it’s not necessarily the right story. Like most generalizations, this statistic suffers from a flaw of averages. In this case, these annual metrics are snapshots — the shortfalls are additive. Of the 2,000 pilots the Air Force is currently short, 1,300 of those are fighter pilots. Since the Air Force produces roughly 300 fighter pilots a year, simple math says it took more than a few years of shortages for this crisis to manifest. Distilling internal Air Force retention data by flying community reveals the true crisis: the Air Force has not met its fighter pilot retention goal in 10 years.



When there is a pilot shortage, the Air Force fills cockpits at the expense of leaving staff positions unfilled. Looking at the problem through this lens, the Air Force pilot shortage goes back as far as 2004, even during years it was meeting retention goals. Back then, upwards of 22 percent of all fighter pilot staff billets were unfilled. Despite eliminating 46 percent of fighter staff positions since then, Aircrew Crisis Task Force data reveals that 71 percent of fighter pilot staff positions in the Pentagon are currently unfilled. The chart above shows fighter pilot retention started falling below overall pilot retention in 2008. So, what happened?

1. The Air Force Got Too Small (People)

Senior leaders, choosing between modernization and readiness during times of fiscal constraints, have gradually reduced the size of the Air Force. This started in 2008, when leadership decided to trade people for programs. The Air Force cut 40,000 personnel, including 9,000 experienced aircraft maintainers — despite the fact that aircraft maintenance required per-flight hour had risen 62 percent since 1991. This marked the beginning of a startling disconnect between aircraft maintenance and flight operations that has been seen in virtually every fighter squadron over the past decade. With fewer people, even maximum efforts by aircraft maintenance squadrons to fill a flying schedule fell below the minimum requirement for flying squadrons to sustain readiness. This led to over-worked aircraft maintenance squadrons, resulting in burned-out and fed-up aircraft maintainers.

As experienced maintainers left, providing flyable aircraft became more difficult and pilots grew frustrated with the growing number of creative-yet-painful workarounds. Local leadership continued to stress the quantity of flying hours in order to report high readiness to their superiors, even though the quality of training became worse down the chain of command. This fostered a growing dissent against local leadership, who were perceived to be more company men than leaders of men.

During the same time period, fighter pilot production was slashed to grow the fledgling remotely piloted aircraft community. Internal Air Force data reveals the service produced just 100 fighter pilots in 2007, and 110 in 2008 — far less than the roughly 300 fighter pilots the service needed to produce annually. Concurrently, the wildly unpopular TAMI-21 initiative was launched. This directed a one-time redistribution of 180 pilots to other airframes — 140 of which were fighter pilots. Most of these went to MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper units to lend experience to the growing fleets. Since budget sequestration hit in 2013, the Air Force has produced roughly 175 fewer active duty pilots annually than it had before sequestration. According to the Aircrew Crisis Task Force, at its lowest point in 2014, the Air Force produced fewer than 90 fighter pilots. To an extent, falling production can be offset with higher retention. However pilot retention had been quietly falling in each of those same years.

The personnel cuts also led the Air Force to consolidate administrative squadron support. In 2008, flying units’ support staff was centralized in large new buildings in the name of greater efficiency. When the staff was physically in the squadron, support was always a few feet away — a critical characteristic for those who live by the flying schedule. Now aircrew had to travel across base, during the posted office hours, to get support. Jobs that weren’t moved out of the squadron were absorbed by pilots as extra duties, detracting from mission focus. After nine years, the Air Force finally acknowledged the issue and announced plans to add 1,600 personnel to restore the support staffs.

In 2015 the active duty force hit 311,000 airmen, the lowest since the Air Force became a separate service. Having admitted that the service mistakenly downsized too much, too fast, the Air Force is now slowly rebuilding the ranks. The Air Force ended 2017 with roughly 321,000 airmen, but openly says it needs to grow to 350,000 airmen — a level not seen since 2005, but what is required to fully man every current squadron.

2. The Air Force Got Too Small (Airplanes)

When it comes to aircraft, the Air Force is in an efficiency paradox. It has too many types of aircraft to maintain but too few planes to cut anything, and is too slow at replacing an aging fleet...

Mike Benitez is an F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons Systems Officer in the U.S. Air Force. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.
https://warontherocks.com/2018/03/air-force-in-crisis-part-ii-how-did-we-get-here/

Lots more.

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« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 15:17:54 by MarkOttawa »
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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #308 on: March 08, 2018, 16:34:08 »
For those who don't like reading lots of words, I think this is the key paragraph posted (I confess, I did not read the whole, original source because.... well, because I have no dog in this fight):
As experienced maintainers left, providing flyable aircraft became more difficult and pilots grew frustrated with the growing number of creative-yet-painful workarounds. Local leadership continued to stress the quantity of flying hours in order to report high readiness to their superiors, even though the quality of training became worse down the chain of command. This fostered a growing dissent against local leadership, who were perceived to be more company men than leaders of men.

A quick read of this one paragraph shows two or three obvious problems (even without assuming that the higher leadership was probably aware of the issues without the 'yes man' stats sent higher).

Online tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #309 on: March 09, 2018, 11:50:22 »
Offer them more money for the regular force and the reserve/national guard.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #310 on: April 03, 2018, 19:41:09 »
Its not entirely about money.Reducing the OPTEMPO is ongoing.Bringing jobs stateside IS part of the fix.Ramping up pilot training is part of the mix as is bringing retired pilots back into service.

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/03/26/air-force-cuts-overseas-tours-to-ease-pressure-on-airmen-is-your-job-coming-home/

Online CBH99

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #311 on: April 04, 2018, 00:27:59 »
I was reading on a USAF discussion forum that overseas postings were actually preferred.  The guys & gals stationed in Korea & Japan were saying the bases are so huge & so Americanized, they even have their own shopping malls & fast food joints.  The quality of life was better, the schools were safer than stateside, significantly less crime, drugs, closer social networks, etc etc. 

From the raising a family perspective, they all seemed to agree that as far as the USAF went, overseas postings offered significant advantages & their kids/families grew up with experiences with kids/families stateside just didn't get.

The big issue I noticed being raised was the safety & quality of the schools, compared to stateside.

A lot of the folks posting on that forum (which ironically enough, the topic was actually "What aircraft do you fly & why do you like it") -- but a lot of them seemed to make the decision that coming back to the US was ultimately when they decided to get out.  Unless your flying out of cool places like Florida or California, Vegas, and a few other preferred locations....nobody was excited to be riding a desk in Nebraska, where they didn't know anybody.  (One of the other best US postings I noticed, where people said they loved the quality of life & general vibe, was actually in Alaska.)


The biggest complaint I found was pilots/aircrew being forced to transfer bases every few years, which made putting down roots very difficult & was difficult on families.  And the fact that they received less & less flying time the higher the ranks they went.

The USAF seems to be pretty adamant about taking career courses & progressing through those courses.  Yet the more courses you take, the higher than rank you are promoted to, the less flying time you have.  So you end up having a situation where your riding a desk more & more, in locations where you don't know many people or have many connections.  As I said, not many folks were pumped to be riding a desk more & flying less, in places like Nebraska or Kentucky.  That seemed to be the biggest complaint I read.

 :2c: 
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #312 on: April 04, 2018, 05:12:20 »
I doubt it talked about schools in Korea:  it is a 1 year unaccompanied posting.  These unnacompanied postings (there are a lot, including in operations areas such as Iraq) may be fun for the single guys but if you have a family, they take their toll over the years. 

A friend of mine did 1 year in Korea (Seoul) and 3 years in Japan flying the Viper.  Work was really interresting but life wasn't that great in Korea (he was also lucky his wife was also stationed in Korea, in Kunsan).  He did enjoy Japan however.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #313 on: April 04, 2018, 09:07:55 »
It seems that sponsored accompanied postings to Korea are possible. My guess is that two things are limiting the number of accompanied postings:
1 - the US military is trying to keep it small (there seems to be a lack of infrastructure)
2 - it seems that US service members who go to Korea unaccompanied get priority when choosing their next posting (ie. do a 1 year in Korea away from the family and then get posted somewhere nice like Hawaii)

** it seems to be called homebasing/follow on tour
http://www.afpc.af.mil/Assignment/Home-Basing-and-Follow-On-Program/

Quote
There are currently approximately 28,500 U.S service members in South Korea and about 7,700 dependents with them.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/trump-weighs-barring-u-s-military-south-korea-bringing-families-n844041

At Osan,
Quote
Only 8% of the families at Osan AB are Command Sponsored.  The vast majority of personnel come to Osan on an unaccompanied one-year assignment.
http://www.osan.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/639999/command-vs-non-command-sponsored-benefits/

more info:
http://www.osan.af.mil/Portals/72/Docs/Newcomers/Command%20Sponsorship%20FAQ%2010.10.17.pdf?ver=2017-10-10-000511-613

And there appears to be 11 schools for US military dependents in Korea
https://www.dodea.edu/Pacific/west/About-Pacific-West-District.cfm



« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 09:12:52 by winnipegoo7 »

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #314 on: April 11, 2018, 19:32:17 »
Not just USAF, USMC and USN too:

Quote
The military’s stunning fighter pilot shortage: One in four billets is empty

The military’s fighter pilot shortfall is reaching alarming proportions — and a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows just how bad the problem has become.

The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are each short about a 25 percent of the fighter pilots they need in crucial areas, according to the GAO report released Wednesday, titled “DOD Needs to Reevaluate Fighter Pilot Workforce Requirements.”

The problem has grown worse in recent years. And because it takes the Air Force, for example, about five years of training — and costing anywhere from $3 million to $11 million — before a fighter pilot can lead flights, holding on to these pilots is vital to recouping the military’s investments and making sure the services can carry out their required missions.

Over the last two years, the Air Force has particularly sounded alarm bells over its pilot shortfalls. The service has stood up a team led by a one-star general to find ways to stem the bleeding of its pilot ranks. Efforts include dramatically increasing retention bonuses, cutting out paperwork and other non-flying duties that keep pilots out of the cockpit, and taking many other steps intended to keep pilots in the service...
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/04/11/the-militarys-stunning-fighter-pilot-shortage-one-in-four-billets-is-empty/

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #316 on: May 14, 2018, 12:40:29 »
Brief excerpts from a substantial piece:

Quote
A Call for Senior Officer Reform in the Air Force: An Insider’s Perspective

...putting people on the fast track so early in their careers comes with many negative consequences. First and foremost is the lack of strategic mindedness in many senior Air Force leaders. A great tactical operator does not a strategist or leader make.

...most successful high-potential officers are those who make their seniors look good in shallow pursuit of the latest fad, thereby avoiding potential mistakes that could result from taking actual risks to advance the mission.

...If you want to know why colonels are leaving the Air Force in unprecedented numbers, look no further than the colonels you usually select for wing command and promote into the general officer ranks...

“Ned Stark” is the pseudonym for an active duty Air Force high-potential officer with multiple combat tours, several distinguished graduate honors, and both command and staff experience at multiple levels from the flight line to the corridors of the Pentagon.
https://warontherocks.com/2018/05/a-call-for-senior-officer-reform-in-the-air-force-an-insiders-perspective/

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Online tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #317 on: May 14, 2018, 13:12:58 »
I have never cared for the USAF promotion system.I like the Israeli model better,but its a smaller force.Pilots should fly until they cant, then they should move to staff jobs.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #318 on: June 01, 2018, 11:21:37 »
An update on retired pilots being offered a return to active duty.

https://www.stripes.com/news/air-force-tries-to-ease-pilot-shortage-by-asking-more-retirees-to-come-back-1.528869

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Commercial airlines may be hiring retired pilots, but so is the Air Force.

The service announced on Wednesday that it may return as many as 1,000 retired pilots, combat systems officers and air battle managers to active duty for up to 48 months under a major expansion of a voluntary recall program.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #319 on: June 13, 2018, 17:36:26 »
Curious:

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/06/13/time_to_get_the_black_out_of_the_blue_113532.html


Quote
....Every year, the Air Force budget includes tens of billions of dollars in “non-blue” pass-through money which funds people and institutions that are not the Air Forcemost notably the intelligence community. Even at the height of sequestration, these non-service funds accounted for about $30 billion annually. In the current request, that figure has shot up to $38 billion—about one-fifth of the total service budget.
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #320 on: July 21, 2018, 15:36:03 »
GAO sugests, amongst other things, that F-22 be taken off NORAD mission in Alaska as part of concentrating on air superiority role (at moment USAF has no plans for F-35 to take on NORAD from Alaska)--a few excerpts:

Quote
Watchdog Says USAF Is Wasting F-22s On Patrols And Deployments, Should Consolidate Force
A new report says the jets and their pilots are too busy with missions that don't require their unique capabilities to prepare for conflicts that do.

The U.S. Air Force is reassessing the distribution and structure of its F-22 Raptor units, as well as their assigned missions and deployment schedules, following a highly critical review of how it is utilizing the aircraft from a top Congressional watchdog.  At present, the stealth fighters suffer from low availability rates and their crews have limited time to train for their primary air superiority mission, especially due to having to fly alert missions in defense of the United States, which could lead to a shortage in capability from the already small fleet during any potential high-end conflict.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the report publicly online on July 19, 2018. It acknowledges that the short-sighted decision to truncate the total purchase of F-22s has exacerbated many of the issues it uncovered and may make certain problems unavoidable to some degree, but makes clear that the Air Force is still not making the most of the Raptors it does have in inventory.

"The Air Force’s utilization of its F-22 fleet has limited pilot opportunities to train for air superiority missions in high threat environments," the reviewers wrote in the executive summary. "Without conducting a comprehensive assessment to identify and assess F-22 organization, the Air Force may be foregoing opportunities to improve the availability of its small yet critical F-22 fleet, and support combatant commander air superiority needs in high threat environments."

The Air Force has divided the fleet up among six combat-coded squadrons, including one in the Air National Guard, each of which has between 18 and 21 primary mission aircraft, along with a small number of additional planes in reserve. There are also two test and evaluation units with Raptors, as well as a formal training unit squadron.


...

Their [GAO's] suggestions included assigning other aircraft to the homeland defense mission...

[Suggestions by authors of article] Even more drastic measures could be taken, such as removing all F-22s from Elmendorf-Richardson and replacing those aircraft with updated F-16s, as well. The F-35 may be another option, though GAO notes in its report that the Air Force has no plans at present to use the Joint Strike Fighters for the alert mission. This, of course, could easily change as more of those jets enter service.

At the very least, the alert commitment should be taken off the F-22's back in Alaska. The mission sucks up three to four jets at any given time and the training requirements required to execute it also eats into the Raptor's core mission syllabus.

The alert role could be assigned to a stateside Air National Guard unit, which is not an uncommon practice...
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22307/watchdog-says-usaf-is-wasting-f-22s-on-patrols-and-deployments-should-consolidate-force

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Online tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #321 on: July 21, 2018, 17:40:17 »
The USAF and Navy have had pilot shortages before,a good economy has something to do with it. Pilots opt for commercial airlines where they get big pay.I think a long term solution is to expand officer candidate schools to bolster pilot ranks with people that are already serving like we did during Vietnam.Gotta increase flight pay though.This what is currently paid out monthly.I think we should start at $1000 per month for an 0-1 and up.Oddly in our pay system these special pays aren't included at retirement maybe thay should change.

2 or less
$125

Over 2
$156

Over 3
$188

Over 4
$206

Over 6
$650

Over 14
$840

Over 22
$585

Over 23
$495

Over 24
$385

Over 25

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #322 on: July 21, 2018, 19:17:40 »
Further to post just above, more on GAO report of F-22:

Quote
Air Force should reassess how F-22 is used, squadrons are organized, report says


...
The GAO notes that the F-22 is used as part of an alert force in Hawaii and Alaska [NORAD], which requires certain bases to have jets ready at all times to respond to threats from civil or military aviation. But that alert force doesn’t require the F-22’s unique capabilities, the report says...
https://pilotonline.com/news/military/local/article_9e97ee28-8b6f-11e8-b486-47bd8d4146e9.html


Mark
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Online tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #323 on: July 21, 2018, 19:56:05 »
Some Alaska based F-22's are forward deployed to Japan/Okinawa.

Online CBH99

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #324 on: July 22, 2018, 00:04:20 »
The USAF is the best funded air force in the entire world, bar none.  It's problems come from compulsive mismanagement of people and resources, period.

Yes, it is difficult to manage an organization as large as the USAF, no doubt.  Tons of capabilities.  Everything needs to be joint.  Tons of commands within the USAF.  Operations ongoing throughout the entire world, simultaneously, all the time.  I don't pretend for a moment that USAF management would be easy.

But, it shouldn't take a Congressional Watchdog to tell the USAF that flying through F-22 airframes dropping 500lb bombs on a few guys here & there with AK's and RPG's isn't the best use of that airframe.  F-16's, even ones that aren't updated, could do the job just fine.  And USAF brass should have known that years ago.

We talk about the USAF flying the wings off of their top end fighters doing CAS in Iraq & Afghanistan all the time.  It's a problem they are well aware of.  And yet it takes a Congressional Watchdog to say "Hey, ya know those really expensive jets that we don't have many of?  Yeah, turns out they don't need to be used to do the job a bloody A-29 could do."


I feel like this is just another example of how US military assets are poorly used.

You don't need an Aegis equipped DDG arresting pirates off the coast of Africa.  A LCS could actually do that job remarkably well, given their speed, 2 helicopters, and ability to embark security teams.  Ya don't need F-22 doing NORAD CAP.  Ya don't actually need tons of Teir-1 ships in the Persian Gulf when regional & EU allies could do that just fine.  Ya don't need Supercarriers in the Persian Gulf when you have airbases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Qatar, Bahrain, etc.

If the US really wanted to stop stretching it's forces to the limit, and complaining they don't have enough $$ when their combined military budget is damn well near a TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR....get smarter.  Congress doesn't need to tell you an F-22 bombing a pickup truck is overkill.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 00:08:56 by CBH99 »
Fortune Favours the Bold...and the Smart.

Wouldn't it be nice to have some Boondock Saints kicking around?